Friday, August 23, 2013

A Dummy's Guide to WhatsApp

Ever since Salman Khan declared, “tere se chatting karne ki khaatir internet lagwaunga main”, nabbey-parteeshat-bhaarteeya decided to buy themselves smartphones with internet connections and installed WhatsApp to follow in his footsteps. A handful of these users have started mistaking the application for a social networking platform and it is about time that someone gives them a step-by-step guide on socially acceptable methods of WhatsApp use.

You can tell a lot about a person from his WhatsApp status message. A person with the status “at work”, “in a meeting” or “urgent calls only” will mostly be unemployed. No one with an actual job has the time to put these words up for everyone to see. Actual office goers do better things in life like scrolling through their WhatsApp contact list to zoom in on profile pictures of random people and checking the “last seen at” time of people who haven’t yet replied to their messages. The pseudo-work guy will be close friends with a person who puts up his status as “at the gym” and also has a picture of himself flexing his left bicep into a full wall mirror, clicking a self shot from his phone using his right hand. This person has a brain equivalent of a pre-Jadoo Hrithik Roshan from Koii Mil Gaya, which is also reflected in his creepy smile and the way he spells “Koii” with two i’s.

You can observe a minute’s silence for people who put up their status as “battery about to die”. They clearly need a counseling session on prioritizing life decisions because setting one’s status to inform the world that your phone is about to die over just keeping it aside and saving on some battery life is the decisional equivalent of coming out with a movie like Chennai Express after RaOne. I also give my heartfelt condolences to those who care to set their status as “sleeping”. This is only to make them believe that the reason why no one texted them while they were asleep was because people cared to read the status message.

Beware the person whose status message says “available”. More often than not, it’ll be a dude who thinks it refers to “relationship status” and also finds it funny to write “everyday” in front of the sex column in any form. Don’t fret over his existence. There’s a high chance that he’ll apply for the next season of Roadies and get his butt cheeks smacked on national television.

You will never see anyone with the status “at the movies” because the movies are not Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3, where no one will ever forget to update his status across all online social networking platforms. And, you will almost always see some people with the status “Hey there! I am using WhatsApp.” Trust me when I say that even if he’s Punjabi, he’s not showing off; he’s just busy doing more important shit in life than updating a status message that no one gives a shit about.

The feature that defines your existence better than a status message is your WhatsApp profile picture. The reason why this is such an important part of your WhatsApp experience is because facebook birthday photo dedications for friends are passé; the world has moved on to WhatsApp. You are expected to change your WhatsApp picture to one with your sister on Raksha Bandhan, with your mum on Mother’s Day and to a “Keep Calm and Drink Beer” on other days. No, don’t care for if your boss has your number on his phone and he might see it. He didn’t even put up a picture with his wife on his marriage anniversary. What does he know about WhatsApp etiquette!

WhatsApp also offers you eight hundred and fifty emoticons to express yourself. It includes more than twelve types of hearts because obviously, how else will you tell a girl that “tune mere dil mein itne rang khila diye”. With eighteen different hand gestures yet not even one to give someone the finger, the sole purpose of these emoji is to make you forward one joke that creatively uses the hand gestures to depict the whole human birth cycle. The remaining eight hundred something emoticons each represent the number of times your smartphone will hang in a day because of low internal memory.

I could go on and on about this marvelous phone application, which has such useful functions like “group chat”, “broadcasts”, “voice notes” and sending someone your “location” on a map. I mean how else would you be able to discuss everything but anything remotely connected to the topic for which you create a group chat? How else would you tell someone that you’re “out of station” without sending them your location on a map? How else would you be able to send “I love you” messages in your own voice to your better half and then complain about your voice sounding ridiculous on being recorded? Oh my God, this app is so useful, I wish Rahul Gandhi would download it to his phone and let it do so much on his behalf!

And just in case you didn’t already know, this blog post has been written by Jimmy Watson, CEO of WhatsApp, who says that you have to forward this to a minimum of ten people on your WhatsApp list after which you will be registered as a frequent user and the green symbol will turn to red. If you fail to do so, it will be assumed that you are not a frequent user and your services will be terminated. This is not a hoax!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bas, Sab Badhiya

It only takes hearing your dad say, “bas, badhiya sab” multiple times on the phone for you to know that it’s an unsafe time for you to move out of the comfort of your room. But no; you will stroll outside with your brain in switched off mode, right into the middle of a sentence that sounds like, “yeh lo, *insert your name here* se baat karo”. Follow that with a game of charades with hand gestures asking for who it is, lip movements telling you that it’s some relative you don’t give two hoots about and then a thirty second eye-expression marathon which says, “what in frig do I talk to her about” and “shut up and take the phone right now; she’s on hold”.

If you have to start a phone conversation with “Namaste”, you are most likely talking to one of your parents’ cousins, whom you meet only at weddings. The fate of the conversation is as predictable as the statement, “haaye, itna bada ho gaya!” being the first thing said to you every time that you meet them. It will always take the course of you being asked a number of questions, the only reply to all of them being various combinations of the words “bas, sab badhiya”. For example:
“Aur, kya haal hai?” “Bas, sab badhiya.”
“*insert brother/sister’s name* ke kya haal hain?” “Bas, sab badhiya.”
“Mummy bhi theek?” “Haanji, bilkul badhiya hai sab”
“Papa?” “Haanji, bas theek hai sab”

By this time, you begin to wonder how difficult it is for someone to understand the scope and extent of the word “sab”, and a full moment of awkward silence to say that sentence in your head follows. This is time for you to take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the innumerable times you will then have to say “haanji” while the lady talks about a time in the seventies when she would get to meet all her cousins every week and now no one has the time to visit anyone.

Aaj kal sab hi itne busy hain, kisi ke paas time nahi… bache bhi saare bade ho gaye, kaam karne lag gaye… pehle kaunsa TV pe kuchh aata tha, ek Chitrahar hota tha bas…  hum sab garmi ki chhutiyon mein ek doosre ke ghar pe pade rehte the… aaj kal office se waapis aaye, toh phone pe lage hain…

The pauses act like little cues for you to fill in the “haanji”. There is no way for you to make them understand that the respectful yesmanship does not signify approval and willingness to hear more, but just the fact that you’ve heard all of it innumerable times already. The only way to make the conversation interesting is to replace “haanji” with “bilkul”. Also, using both the words together as “haanji bilkul” brings in a little more variety, making you sound like less of a repetitive idiot in front of your dad sitting beside you.

While you move around the house trying to look for your younger sibling whom you can pass on the phone to, like the father passed it on to you; run a few more laps of the relay race conversation which again steers towards “aur bata, sab badhiya?” I mean, in which part of the world do people use the word “sab” in a conversation to refer to a C-grade Hindi channel that telecasts ridiculous shows with names like “Taarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma”. The return of the question makes absolutely no sense because the only reply you will have to it is a “haanji, sab badhiya”. The very fact that you could not start the conversation with your usual “Yo, what’s up?” or “Wazza suckaaaa!” is enough evidence that you will have zilch to contribute towards the dialogue.

You realize that your sibling is in the washroom and the only way to survive the conversation is to look for your mum and bear a few more “aur bata’s” with hurried “hmm’s”. You should know that you have to find your mum right in time before you are expected to reply to something on the lines of “chachi/mami/bua se milne bhi aa ja kabhi… ab toh khud bhi aa sakta hai… pehle toh chhota tha…” so that you can be quick to pronounce “yeh lo, mumma se baat karo”, play a little game of charades with your mum, look at her scrunch up her nose and then put the phone to her ear.

As you walk back towards your room, listen to the words “bas, sab badhiya” slowly fade away in a loop in your mother’s sweet voice. Ab, sab badhiya!

Image Source:

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Dummy's Guide to Writing a Punjabi Song

The Punjabi music industry has grown so tremendously over the past one decade that the only legit way to acknowledge its magnificence is to introduce a Four Year Undergraduate Program called Chhadeyan Punjabi Gaane Vich (translation: Bachelors in Punjabi Music) at the prestigious University of Delhi. The idea may seem ridiculous to most of you, but trust the University to implement it if it receives an application. For all those who have already graduated and are happy to have studied at the University when the course structures actually made sense, here’s a chance to do a crash course on How to Write a Punjabi Song.


Say your own name at least 5 times

The reason why you need to do this is because people get really drunk at parties and as a Punjabi singer you want to help them claim that they’re not drunk enough to not be able to tell who the singer is. There are some anti-Punjabists who might tell you that nothing screams indulgence in self-pleasure as much as having to say your own name aloud again and again. They will tell you that it’s creepy when you say the names of two dudes in the same breath. But haters gonna hate! The reason why Jay Sean and Juggy D are so popular is because they go a step ahead and also say the name of their music producer, Rishi Rich. These Hindi song-walas are just jealous because no one shouts “Anu Malik” or “Pritom” in a Bollywood song.

Tip: It’ll be better if you also change your name to something that has the letter-Z. For example: Jaz Dhami, Jazzy B and Taz.

Heeriye, Soniye, Kudiye, Mutiyaare, Patakhe, Laila, Gurrrl

Include at least two of the above mentioned words to refer to the ladies. It just doesn’t stop there. Punjabi lyricism gives you enough freedom to get as creative as possible and objectify women by calling them whatever you want. Once you get some practice, adjectives like “nasal di gori aahganne di porri aaah” and “mitraan di hoe” will come naturally to you. You can also try using “marjaani” and “khasma nu khaani”, which are both extremely popular. And if you’re one who likes showering your girlfriend with beautiful compliments, try taking inspiration from “kudi bann gayi beauty queen la la body butter caream.

Tip: Who the bloody nonsense teach you girl-girl? It is gurrrrl.

Vodka, Daaru, Dope, Beer, Botal, Neat

Punjabi music is for times to celebrate, be it a wedding when you go “rum rum rum rum rum, oh whisky” or a tough heartbreak when you start humming atrocious lyrics like “upar upar upar, in the air.” Your song should show self-pride through words like “main sharaabi main sharaabi” even if they form more than eighty percent of the lyrics. At the same time, you should also promote responsible drinking through the words “naale thode tikke shikke tussi kha leya karo” and “khaali tidh liver na saadeya karo”.

Tip: Rhyme your alcohol and narcotics’ names with made up words starting with “sha”. For example, “daaru-shaaru” and “dope-shope”.

Chandigarh, UK

It doesn’t matter if you’re from Lajpat Nagar or Hissar; to be a successful Punjabi song writer, you have to know the names of all the important places in Chandigarh and UK, which are… um, Chandigarh and UK. You’ll then be able to bring the authentic Punjab spirit to your song. Some of the greatest songs of our time have lines like “tu Chandigarh tohn aayi ni” and “jidaan Chandigarh lagda na tere bina dil.” The safest place to use “UK” is to say it right after you say your name. I promise no one will doubt it!

Tip: Patiala is not a place; it is a peg.

Insert names of at least two luxury brands

Connoisseurs of style, Punjabis no longer define “bling” as the strip of jewels on Daler Mehndi’s turban. Also, today’s Punjabi boys know the difference between brand and brandy. You should try getting used to the fact that “Tommy” is not the name of a dog; “Bobbi Brown” does not mean that your “Bobby bhaiya/chacha/bua” is being made fun of by racist whites; and “Pa-rada” is not a brand of “paranda”. Try getting into the mode by listening to “kaali teri Gucci te Prada tera laal”, “Bobbi Brown da make up laake munde pattdi jaandi hai”, “kudi da chitta iPhone, laake LA wali tone” and "...shoe teri da, dress teri da, ghadi je paayi Guess teri da."

Tip: Ed Hardy and Being Human are not luxury brands. Basically, anything that Salman wears is easily available on the roads, so better avoid ‘em all.

Gaddi, Jeep, Lamborghini, Bullt

It was no miracle that the only Punjabi song to break all records for being used in a Bollywood movie was “Main nikla gaddi le ke”. However, the most beautiful use of a car is credited to Imran Khan who made waves with lines like “ni gaddi saadi bae ja ni jattiye… woofer tu meri meri, main tera amplifyaa fyaa”. A car is the only object about which you can be realistic in your lyrics and still be sure of sounding like a badass Gabru, as seen in “pijj gayi kurti paseene di… chaali degree sidhi dhup paendi… on karaan AC.

If you can’t find the proper place to talk about your car in the song, don’t fret. But you must not forget to show the swankiest of Ferraris and Jaguars in your music video. Also, the only motorcycle that qualifies to be spoken about is Bullt.

Tip: Get your car registered in Uttarakhand. That way, you’ll get a number plate that says UK.

The Weaponry, the Party and the Gabru

It’s always a good idea to talk about all the pind gang wars that you’ve been a part of. “Hockey, gandaasi, goliyan, bandook and talwar” add the much needed punch to your lyrics. Also, the translation for yo’ nigga in Punjabi is “oye, gabru”.

Tip: If all else fails, pick up and translate any 50 Cent song for best results.

Exhibit A: In Da Club

Oye, oye, oye, oye, oye, oye kudiye,
Ni ajj tera burday.
Assi karaange party ni ajj tera burday,
Piyaange ve Bacardi, ni ajj tera burday,
Fikraan ni assi karde, je na ho tera burday!

Tu mil le mennu pub, main nachaan in the club,
Tu soni enni kudiye, ni vekhen tennu sab.
Main kardaan shaitaaniyan, ruka haan main vi kab?
Aa chal mere naal, kehde tu hi mera rabb.

Je Yo Yo tera gaddiyan ni apniyan laave,
Jaa Gur-gaon geet je apne sunaave,
Saare loki hath utte nachde jaave,
Te pher tu mere kol na ajj kyun aave?

Dad mennu kende si: nalayake tu padh,
Main keya main gabru jawaan o’ Chandigarh.
Je lage meri hockey di kissi nu vi ragadh,
Otthe hi banda kutt jaana, ho jaani body sadh.

Oh kudiye ni aaja ni tu mere naal pub,
Dolce Gabanna di tu dress jaa ke fadh,
Karaange assi party, na kisi da vi darr.
Je Yo Yo tere naal, te na koi vi fikar.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Misspelling of Toxic by Priyanka Chopra

It only takes paying a little attention to notice that Farhan Akhtar does not believe in competing with industry moguls like the Khans to march forward in his Bollywood career. With his little experience in acting and a well chiseled body, he secretly managed to lay his hands on Priyanka Chopra’s success plan and there has been no looking back. Growing his hair luxuriously long was one step, but then no one seemed to notice how while the lady was still in talks with international music producers and the makers of Mary Kom’s biopic, Junior Akhtar had already begun to woo the audience with his singing, and played an Indian athlete on the big screen even before PC could finish saying “Oh, Shahrukh”. As we see the Ms. World churning out exotic singles and milkshakes, Farhan sits cozy, enjoying the first mover advantage while continuously streaming the video of Exotic for the lulz.

For a nation which has now liberalized its foreign policy and allowed Foreign Dhamaal Items (FDI) like Sunny Leone into the country, a little bit of teasing with shots of a lady wearing a nude colored swimsuit and constantly trying to remove the kachra from her hair on Juhu Beach does not work. I agree that the video has been made for international audiences, but dressing the singer up as a pokemon with snazzy glares and two neon colored pokemon balls for a bikini top does not really please the Ash Ketcham generation of the country which is now in its twenties. Also, you can do all in the name of fashion, but who walks into a swimming pool wearing a pair of pink heels!

The most profound lines of the song are “pardesi babu ne iss desi dil ko maan liya hai”, which qualify the track to be put on the cover of a Baby Doll Volume VI along with other songs that define originality like “mera babu chhail chhabeela main toh naachungi” and “ik pardesi mera dil le gaya”, thus equating Pitbull with Harry Anand and DJ Suketu. The video is honestly no different, with not just all the rickshaw-walas finally getting something to move on to after the album Aap Ka Suroor, but also shows how the creative team behind the project is competent enough to look at a picture of Professor Snape and comment, “Iske baal toh Tere Naam wale Salman Khan jaise hain”, and then laugh for an hour, trying to picture him shake his head vigorously to the tune of Lagan Lagan Lag Gayi Hai in front of the Pragati Maidan building.

Ms. Chopra did try to capitalize on the latest news around her song and applied to Guinness for being acknowledged with a world record for the video watched most number of times on mute on YouTube, but they bargained and settled for giving her the chance to perform the song at the Guinness International Champions Cup. The muted-video record had to undoubtedly go to the Indian Prime Minister’s speech addressing the Indian masses, which are now just as over-used and abused as the Manmohan Singh joke. Also, it makes sense to choose a Pitbull song for the tournament since he signifies nothing more than a bouncing football in the video. Win-win!

The banality of the above description can be either credited to the insignificant presence of the song which does not offer much to even make fun of, or it just points to how there are miles to go before I can begin to term any of my writing as an outcome of creative prowess. I will be humble and accept the latter, while you can cut me some slack for this uninteresting review on grounds of sympathy as I had to undergo the ordeal of watching the video five times to come up with anything around five hundred words to write about it. As a side-effect, "la-love me all the way to Rio" refuses to get out of my head now. But I’m happy to believe that somewhere, someone must have really enjoyed the video, jerked off to it and given birth to a surrogate baby. Congratulations on the little boy at the age of forty-seven.

Image Source:

To cheer yourself up, you can read Gursimran Khamba's article: The musical journey of the exotic Priyanka Chopra.